Published On: March 2018
As an industrial material, silicon carbide has been used in the industrial application since the last century and its ceramics have also found being used in the variety of the industrial applications due to various properties associated with it. Silicon carbide is known as the hardest as well as toughest ceramic material available on the face of the earth. Its application scope covers the majority of the industrial applications including electronics & electrical, automotive, metallurgic, metal mining, machine manufacturing, industrial aerospace & defense and others. The global market as a whole is marching towards enhanced growth rate due to overall global industrial developments as a result of increasing industrial automation coupled with economic developments.
Electrical & Electronics and Automotive industry: the primary market for Sic ceramics
Silicon carbide (Sic) ceramics are being largely preferred in the electronics & electrical industry for the production of semiconductors, diodes, composites, circuit boards and many of other applications. The ability of the Sic material to function under extreme conditions have made them largely preferable in this industry. Additionally, various properties associated with Sic ceramics such as excellent thermal conductivity, low thermal expansion, excellent resistance to acid, and corrosion resistant are suitable for electrical & electronics industrial applications. On the other hand, Sic ceramics are being used to produce durable automotive parts such as brake disc. Silicon carbide itself used as oil additive in the automotive industry for the purpose of reducing friction and emission. Therefore abovementioned industries are considered as primary markets for Sic ceramics.
As per the Asian Electronics & Electrical Manufacturers Association, the global electronic & electrical (E&E) industry is moving towards the overall revenue of USD 10.1 trillion by end of 2018. The Asia Pacific accounts for the 73% overall production shares in this industry followed by America at 12%. Japan is considered as the largest E&E market due to largest manufacturing base and has helped the Asia Pacific to dominate the global market. As far concerned with the automotive industry stats, Asia Pacific again ranked as number one market in terms of production as well as consumption. According to OICA, China is among the largest automotive producer across the globe and has produced over 90 million vehicles including commercial and consumer at more than 6% growth rate. The growth in both of these industries is observed as significant, specifically, in APAC region. For automotive production, China is the largest market, wherein the producers are increasing to exploit the profitability of this industry. Overall it altogether driving the growth of silicon carbide ceramics market.
Wide application scope: Upcoming growth opportunities
Application scope of the silicon carbide ceramics covers industrial sectors. As mentioned above E&E and automotive are the primary application area of this market. Apart from this, machinery manufacturing, metallurgic, aerospace & defense, and other industrial applications are the other potential sectors. Growing industrialization across the developed, as well as developing economies, have been demanding hi-tech machinery to attain higher manufacturing yield. Developed countries are spending more amount in defense and military sector in order to produce highly protected armed products thereby driving the scope for Sic ceramics. Similarly, in order to cater huge demand from consumer and industrial sector, steel production increased massively over the course past seven years, thereby, supporting the growth of the metallurgic industry. Apart from this major application sectors, Sic application are found in ballistic, jewelry, and sporting goods.
As per the World Economic Forum, the biggest change for the major global industries will be of technological advancement and the resulting automation. Industrial investment has been rose immensely to match up with technological up gradation through heavy spending on R&D. As per our analysis, global industrial growth expected to be estimated at moderate and relatively progressive by 2020. Taking into account the overall industrial scenario industrial reforms to offer gains for the growth of silicon carbide ceramics market.
High prices: an inevitable threat
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has stated that Sic ceramic are the most expensive ceramics after beryllium alloys and graphite’s. High prices are consistently posing as a growth barrier to the growth of this market. Despite the fact that that Sic ceramic possess excellent properties than other ceramic material, their prices are way higher than the other available ceramic material. Producers are looking for a suitable alternative to enjoy the cost-effectiveness over Sic ceramics. On the other hand, gallium nitride is an emerging alternative for Sic ceramics which is available in the market. It offers comparatively better performance in specific application and is gradually penetrating in the market.
Gallium nitride and Sic ceramic are commonly used in semiconductor application, however, Sic ceramic are has not reached the level industry experts has been hoping for. This is due to, gallium nitride devices are capable of operating at high voltage and low leakage current, which makes them superior to SiC ceramic devices and are also cost-effective. As per our analysis, high cost associated with ceramic to act as growth barrier over the assessment period as well and might develop a suitable substitute other than gallium nitride.
Industry experts have been expecting huge investment on R&D in the near future to undertake the technological up-gradation attain high industrial yield. Taking into account the properties of Sic ceramics, it may develop several niche application. Moreover, high cost has always been the issue in this market, therefore, the industry as whole expecting a suitable alternative for Sic ceramics.